I Pet a Giraffe!

Giraffes became my favorite animal in the spring of 2011. I was a high school teacher then, and we took the students on a field trip to the Houston Zoo. It was then I learned that for a mere $5, you can feed the giraffes three pieces of lettuce. I’d never cared for giraffes one way or another until then, but something about being so close to them just won me over and I was in love.


Since then, I’ve fed the giraffes a LOT. I also started learning more and more about them and I just realized everything they do is weird! Their tongues, the way they fight, the way they sleep, the way they have to drink water… So now when people think of me, they think giraffes.

Anyway, for my 28th birthday my parents got me a behind the scenes tour of the giraffe barn at the zoo! It took a couple of months but I recruited a friend to go with me and we scheduled the tour for June 3 (almost a month ago!). Here’s how it all went down.

We met the tour guide near the front of the zoo just before noon. There were 6 people total on the tour and the guide said that was a good number because we’d get more giraffe time. We met the keepers at the barn and they led us up to the second story platform to meet the giraffes!

giraffe2First we fed them lettuce, and then came the giraffe kisses, which is when you put a piece of sweet potato in your mouth and let the giraffe take it from you. “The closer you get, the less tongue they use,” said the keepers.

giraffe3The giraffes that were bottle raised, like Miles, like to be pet.

giraffe4One of the giraffes definitely got a little tongue in my mouth too, so that was pretty gross (and it was caught on video!).

Basically it was like the $5 feeding you can do most days, except there’s no line behind you to rush you and you can pet them! It was such a relaxed environment and the keepers kept using the word “intimate” when comparing it to the standard feeding. I couldn’t agree more and I really REALLY want to do it again!

Click here to see the options available for tours at the zoo. They cost $75 for non-members and $50 for members. It is so worth it! My uncle wants us to do the lion/tiger tour so look for a post on that someday!

10-Year Journal

I wanted a 10-year journal because to me it represents a faith that significant things will happen to me in the next 10 years. I am 26 years old as I start this journal, and I will be 37 when it is complete (it’s actually an 11-year journal, more on that in a bit). By 37 I believe I will have gotten a great job, gotten a great dog, met a great man, married him, had all the children we’re going to have, and bought a house. And between all of those things, I expect there to be great little things happening all the time! This journal is a simple way to document that.

A 10-year journal was not easy to find. There are lots of 5-year journals out there, but I wasn’t quite sure that all this awesome stuff would happen by 31. Literally the only 10-year journal my mom and I could find was this one on Amazon. At $40 it’s not cheap, but when you think about it it’s only $4 a year! What a steal.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of a multi-year journal, allow me to explain. Basically each page of the journal is a day, and the day is divided into however many years the journal holds. So a 10-year journal has 10 “boxes” with the year by each. My journal starts in 2013 and ends in 2023, so it’s actually an 11-year journal, but no matter. Gives me an extra year to get in one last goal under the wire.

This journal claims to have “special features”, which made me kind of skeptical and anxious at first. I can be a little obsessive about having all of the blanks filled in and doing¬†everything exactly right. So what if I don’t like the features? What if I don’t want to fill them out? Not having every single blank filled in would be catastrophic!!!

But then I looked the features over and thought, oh, I could do that.

The first big feature is the “carry-over page”. Four lines a day is great for most days, but every now and then something awesome happens and you need to say more! In that case, there’s a little space in each day for you to write the page number you’ve carried over to. The pages themselves are just big, lined pages. You write the date and year and keep writing!

The next feature is a scary one for me. Long-term planning. This starts out with one lined page. Just blank, no direction or anything. I think most people would use this to write down their goals for the next 10 years. I’m not a big goal person, but I’m thinking I will copy down my life list. After that is a page for each year. Each page is lined with a vertical line dividing the page down the middle. I think this is supposed to be where I set a goal for the year and then measure my progress at the beginning of the year, which just sounds HORRIBLE to me! I thought I might use it to list highlights of each year, but the top of the page says “looking ahead”. Any other ideas for this?

Before each month is this monthly overview page. It’s a grid with the years going across the top and the date going down the left side. There is a TINY box for each day. The introduction had some suggestions, but my favorite was to write down one word that best describes the entry for that day. That way it serves as kind of an index. Cool, right?

The next set of features is on the actual journal pages themselves. At the top of each page there is an empty box that can be used to notate birthdays or anniversaries. Then like I said already, there are four lines for each day for journaling, plus a little space to put a page number to refer to the carry-over page if I use it. There are also two circles, and a slash. The introduction suggested using the circles to draw the AM and PM weather (adding rays if it’s sunny, a raindrop if it’s rainy, etc), and the slash to notate important numbers like blood pressure, weight, etc. I like the idea of keeping track of the weather (especially around the holidays I always wonder what the weather was like last year), but I’d rather use that for the slash than the circles. But I’m still totally clueless as to what to use the circles for!¬†

Another feature that makes me nervous is “keeping track”. There is one keeping track page for each year, and each page is divided into four quadrants. The first quadrant is labelled medical, the second is automobile, and the last two are blank. The idea is that I’m supposed to write down the date I went to the doctor and when I get my car serviced. This is boring to me, but I could see how it could be useful. I could write the date and why I went to the doctor (which is rare), and the date and how many miles were on my car. That’s cool right? I am still deciding what I want to use the last two quadrants for. I think one will be for books and I will write the date I finished a book and the title. Any ideas for the fourth quadrant?

The last feature is “special dates”. This is confusing to me because each page already as a space to put birthdays and stuff. I guess this can be for things like my graduation, friend’s weddings, the day I get engaged/pregnant, etc? Special but not necessarily something I need a yearly reminder about.

I think this is a very manageable project. There are a lot of little things to fill in, but I think I can keep up with it! What do you think about a multi-year journal? Have you ever kept one? Does this inspire you to? I bet you could totally DIY one if you wanted to. Any ideas for the parts I need ideas for???